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Prison Manager's Resignation Regrettable

23 February 2004
Prison manager’s resignation regrettable

Tasi Lauese, Chair of the Pacific Peoples Advisory Group, which holds a formal partnership with the privately-managed Auckland Central Remand Prison, today said the resignation of the prison’s General Manager, Dom Karauria, was highly regrettable.

Mr Lauese said he believed that the focus the Green Party had placed on Mr Karauria had left him no choice but to transfer back to Australia so that the debate was refocused where it should be, which is on what really works for reducing offending in this country.

“I am astounded that some politicians in this country are unable to see what is right before their eyes, and that they are willing to buy into ideological arguments and conspiracy theories rather than address the real issues,” he said.

“I am also concerned that there is an inference that a man of Dom Karauria’s mana would involve himself with a company such as the one Nandor Tanczos describes.”

Mr Lauese said while Mr Karauria had provided outstanding leadership at ACRP and his resignation would hurt, the local Pacific and Mäori communities had formed a strong working relationship with the management company, GEO Group.

“While Dom will be sorely missed, we are confident that the GEO Group will still manage this prison to the highest standards that we have come to expect.

“However, our real concern lies with the potential to completely lose the relationship we have with the GEO Group as we have developed such a strong and constructive relationship with them,” said Mr Lauese.

“This relationship and this prison are definitely working in the best interests of the Pacific community,” he said.

Under the Corrections Bill which is currently before Parliament, the management contract for ACRP will not be renewed in 2005 and there will be no further opportunity for private providers to contract with the Department of Corrections to manage prisons.

“We have no confidence in the public prison service to run this prison to anywhere near the standard it currently is,” said Mr Lauese.

“The Pacific Community believe the innovation and excellence that has come to characterise ACRP must be encouraged across all of our prisons, rather than punished.

“With our publicly-managed prisons in disarray, we believe we must actively encourage new approaches to prison management, as we have seen at ACRP.

“As recent reports from the UK have just shown, contracting with private providers has directly led to State-managed prisons significantly lifting their performance. This is precisely what we need so badly here in New Zealand.

“Shutting down our only successful and appropriately-managed prison, and forcing our most talented manager abroad is a recipe for disaster,” said Mr Lauese.

ENDS

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